Theres no way to hide the hideousness of the Sunflower Showdown.
By BLAIR KERKHOFF
The Kansas City Star
With Kansas 70-54 triumph over Kansas State in the Big 12 tournament title game on Saturday at the Sprint Center, the Jayhawks swept all three games against the Wildcats this season.
But that only scratches the surface of this domination.
The outcome also means KU has won 47 of the previous 50 mens basketball meetings against Kansas State, and 11 straight in conference tournament games.
Kansas State players said theres not a mental block against the Jayhawks, but were obviously disappointed Saturday they couldnt get the job done again.
Four teams beat them, guard Angel Rodriguez said. Why cant we? I guess they just played better than us today and were the better team.
Common to all the Kansas victories this season was the Jayhawks superb defense. Kansas State shot 34 percent from the floor on Saturday, and tired legs from playing evening games the previous two days was a factor.
But so was the Kansas defense. K-State shot 40 percent or worse in the regular-season games. The Wildcats missed 14 of 19 three-point attempts.
They do a great job, junior guard Shane Southwell said. Once you punch them you know theyre going to punch back.
Senior guard Martavious Irving said Kansas adjusts as well as any team Kansas State regularly faces.
Bill Self, hes a mad scientist, Irving said. He gets talented players, gets them ready, and their schemes are excellent. But there are going to be wins against them, no doubt about it.
Its a rivalry, but in order to be the best you have to beat the best.
Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger sees the rivalry from a unique perspective. He had degrees from both schools, served on the first staff of football coach Bill Snyder and has often pointed to the Wildcats football success as a model for Kansas. Snyder is 17-4 against KU in his career.
I see it as a good brother rivalry, Zenger said. We just have to let it evolve in both sports.
Kansas State reached the top of the polls in football, and Kansas did the same in basketball during this school year.
As a native Kansan, who grew up watching both schools, I took a lot of pride in that, Zenger said.
There was plenty of pride in the Kansas State locker room on Saturday. The Wildcats loss didnt diminish their regular-season co-championship with the Jayhawks, the first title trophy for K-State since it won the 1977 Big Eight championship.
This doesnt take anything away from that, K-State guard Rodney McGruder said.
That was the attitude in the Kansas locker room as well.
This game was about the tournament championship, KU guard Travis Releford said.
To reach Blair Kerkhoff, call 816-234-4730 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/BlairKerkhoff.